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SoCalGas makes safety improvements to natural gas pipelines

Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) is currently updating and testing its natural gas pipeline system throughout Central and Southern California.

The work being performed is part of SoCalGas’ Pipeline Safety Enhancement Plan, which was filed to comply with the CPUC’s pipeline safety rulemaking proceeding directives to enhance public safety.

“Safety is, and has always been the most important part of our work. Our Pipeline Safety Enhancement Plan will continue to improve our system and further protect our customers and employees,” said Rick Phillips, senior director of SoCalGas’ Pipeline Safety Enhancement Plan.

As part of the proceeding, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) ordered the state’s natural gas transmission pipeline operators to develop plans to replace or pressure test all natural gas transmission pipelines that have not been pressure tested. Regulations specifying pressure testing were implemented after many of the transmission pipelines were installed. In addition to replacement and testing, the plan calls for retrofitting existing valves so SoCalGas can respond to transmission pipeline incidents more quickly and in multiple locations simultaneously. The plan was filed in August 2011 and received CPUC approval in June 2014.

“While we are proud of our strong safety record, our successes in this area are not taken for granted,” Phillips said.

In addition to improving system safety, the Pipeline Safety Enhancement Plan also has significant economic benefits. A report released by SoCalGas has determined that the work associated with its Pipeline Safety Enhancement Plan will generate an economic infusion of more than $2.4 billion. Nationally, more than 2,400 jobs will be directly created or retained, with more than 1,800 of those positions located in Southern California.

In Southern California, the plan is expected to generate more than $1.9 billion in economic activity based on direct, indirect and supporting services. State and local governments are expected to see a $9 million boost in tax benefits from Pipeline Safety Enhancement Plan activities in the SoCalGas service territory. The federal tax benefit is estimated to be $23 million.

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